Days 2015

Days 2015

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

First-Born in the Wilderness

My Dad's typical scriptural response when I phone home on Sunday nights is, "My First-Born in the Wilderness!"  He called with that same salutation this week as I turned thirty-six, remarking that we were getting old.  (His birthday is the same week.)  Well, this year I decided to make that nickname official and go to Moab for my birthday.

We went with some close friends, the Petersons.  Mark and Bishop Peterson have been serving together in the bishopric of our ward for a while now, and it's a good sign that they don't drive each other too crazy.  (What does that indicate if Bro. Seal, the 2nd counselor, couldn't make it? No worries, someone had to mind things at home, including the BYU football game.)

The house we stayed in had plenty of room and a nice big kitchen, and we took the whole party to Pasta Jay's for dinner, where the food was fabulous but the wait was a little too long for my one year old, who decided I needed to go on a birthday walk mid-meal.  That was actually kind of nice, too.  It was fun to stroll down the sidewalk proudly with my birthday "date", showing off his gorgeous face to all the tourists, yuppies, bikers and grandparents.  It was a beautiful night in the desert and we pointed out the constellations and the Milky Way on the way back to our lodgings.

Starting off on our "warm-up"hike, Park Avenue trail.
The next day started out at truly amazing Arches National Park.  Our first hike was a favorite that we've been on before, Park Avenue.  Not too long or difficult, mostly in the shade.  It was a good warm up, we told the kids.

Cooper tended to lag behind on this one because he wanted to play on all the interesting formations and scoop up sand.


The Peterson and Day kids, minus Luke, who was riding in a toddler pack.



Mark is still smiling at this point--lots of shade.  I think that was a thirty pound plus load. 
We waited for our ride at the base of Courthouse Rock.  Luke thought it was pretty cool to sit on the big rocks.


Abby and Leslie

After that we decided to brave Delicate Arch.  I wasn't expecting this.  Having been so afraid of heights last time we did it a few years ago, I was nervous, until I reconsidered the ages of our kids, and the fact that the only little one was strapped to Mark's back.  It was a much better experience, and Cooper and I were only a little nervous at the very top. 
The three smallest taking a rest on the way up the slickrock.

Cooper was bugged that I made him at least sit down for a picture.  He wanted to turn around and be done with the heights.  (There is a steep cliff behind me that we just walked along.)

Boston is a great hiker.  Does. Not. Complain.

Life Elevated, Day style.




Bishop was kind enough to regularly take turns carrying Luke.  Brings a literal meaning to "Willing to Bear One Another's Burdens".  Luke didn't mind, he and Bishop have always been buds.
Next on the list was Sand Dune Arch, the kids' very favorite.

It was Luke's first official hike.  (Since he walked it himself.)

Everyone takes off their shoes and pretends they are at the beach.  The shade was lovely and the sand was soft.  Boston made a sand angel.


These three decided to get buried.  I told them they looked like they were riding a bobsled or something.




They were good and stuck.

Here is the actual arch close to overhead.

Are you getting a pedicure, Leslie?


I have a video of these three erupting from their sand prison, but since it took forever, the video was too long to post here.  Even the audio was hilarious because all you could hear was laughing and me telling various children to not throw sand, etc.


I kept telling Leslie she'd better hurry up and escape because Luke kept trying to drool on her.


Cooper painted football stripes on his face with a little spit and sand.  This is his intimidating face.

He also knows how to play nicely.

I don't have many moments with my feet up, so I thought I'd record this moment for posterity.  Mom does relax once in a while.  It was a beautiful afternoon.

That's what you get for drooling on Leslie.  Drool plus faceplant equals sandy beard.


Too cool for school?  Oh yeah.

The Sandy Sisters


The little girls were burying our feet and telling us it was cinnamon sugar.
The teenagers tried to see how deep they could dig.  And Jordan lost an arm.  Ever see Tremors?

Boston also lost a couple of limbs.  He didn't make it.
Mark, minding all the shoes.  We were nearly the only people there, and we were the only ones that were playing in the sand.  Mark did get to meet some hikers from where he served some of  his mission in Coutances, France.

Don't know why he's so tired.  He just rode in the pack!
None of the kids wanted to leave, including the teenagers, so we stayed a little longer than planned.  Way fun.  After that the Petersons took our two oldest on a late afternoon hike around the Windows area and we took the other three back to the lodgings for some serious baths.  I forgot to empty cuffs and pockets beforehand...that poor bathroom rug had to get shaken multiple times.

After dinner that night we explored Moab's Rotary Park.  Really fun place.  It had a conventional playground, a stream with a bridge, lots of trees, and this very entertaining outdoor musical playground.  Boston brought his laser tag guns for after dark and I think he remains undefeated. 

Okay wealthy citizens.  Our town needs one of these...

The next day we were off to Corona Arch.  Our family had never been there.  It is outside of Arches Park, so that is the one that people swing on sometimes (check on YouTube. Yikes.) I guess someone died there earlier this year when his bungee didn't hold.  Luckily, we were almost the only ones there again so it was a good day to go.  The short drive along the Colorado was stunning, but then the view on the hike itself was so stunning and massive and grand it just blows your mind.  Grand County, Utah is aptly named.  My favorite arch thus far.
I liked the optical illusion of seeing the cliff behind the rock keep sliding over as we got closer.  It reminded me of Gates of the Mountains near Helena, MT.

This is a 180 degree landscape, so picture it curved.  The arch is on the left.

Macy is in the pink pants, the other kids up on the ledge.


Leslie, Cooper, Boston, Jordan, Abby, Leslie, Kaylee

In the shade of Corona Arch.  Thanks for the fruit snacks, Liz.

This is the beginning of that hike, I think.

Macy taking a cave break.

The view for the hike back down.  The canyon in the center was cut for a railroad.  The banks of the Colorado are in the background.  We hiked along the ridge on the right.  Everything is bigger and redder than it looks in this picture.
After a picnic lunch we hiked the Negro Bill trail to Morning Glory Natural Bridge.  The hike seemed ideal for such a hot day (94 degrees in the parking lot) because you get to cross a stream multiple times. Also lots of shady places.  It would have been perfect except it was a bit longer than we thought, almost four hours. Also, about half way there, I noticed my camera was no longer strapped to my hip and I worried about it the whole time.  Thus, no pictures.  (It was in the van.)  Macy had had it by that point and I was grateful for my gentle friend Liz who took Macy by the hand and gave her treats and band aids that she didn't actually need.  (In contrast, I think the next words out of my mouth would have been, "Suck it up, Buttercup!!!"  I resolve to be a better, kinder mother.)
Morning Glory Natural Bridge.  There was a shallow pool and stream under this arch that the kids could have played in for a long time...but we were getting pretty short on drinking water so we had to head back.

It was a wonderful birthday trip.  I told Mark we'll have to go back soon.  He agreed, but added, maybe next time when everyone can carry themselves.

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